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Chapter 51: Another Interview With Mr. Jaggers... Notes from Great Expectations

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Great Expectations Chapter 51: Another Interview With Mr. Jaggers...

Pip is on the hunt for the truth of Estella's parentage, a hunt that leads him to Jaggers' office, where he confronts the surly lawyer with the news that he knows the identity of the girl's mother and her father. While Jaggers knows his housekeeper is Estella's mother, he doesn't know the identity of the father and his manner makes it clear that he's curious. He receives the news that it's Magwitch with a start.

Wanting to get a real rise out of someone at Jaggers' office, Pip turns to Wemmick and says that he knows him to be a kind man with a gentle heart. When Jaggers hears this, he relaxes, and uncharacteristically, smiles. The two men who are normally so resolutely businesslike then begin to tease each other about having pleasant homes and playful ways (very unprofessional), and with the air so lightened, Jaggers tells his version of Estella's story. In this version, it was a desire to rescue Estella from her mean beginnings and to shelter Molly from the world that led him to give Estella to Miss Havisham, and take Molly on as his housekeeper. Underneath his mean exterior, Jaggers does seem to have a conscience and a moral sense.

All of this wholesomeness, however, is simply unacceptable in the workplace, and Wemmick and Jaggers are glad when a poor client enters the office, so they can both turn on him. The good load of verbal abuse they dole out to the client, says Pip, seems to refresh the two men like a good lunch.

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